Greater Sudbury thrives and grows beyond its traditional mining orientation

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    STAFF WRITER
    – The Ontario Construction Report Special Feature

    Greater Sudbury is northern Ontario’s largest city and is the seventh largest in Canada by land area. It is also the north’s regional centre.

    Backed by its 2015 to 2018 Corporate Strategic Plan the community is growing and thriving.

    Ian Wood, director of economic development, says the strategic plan is based on four key pillars: growth and economic development; responsive, fiscally prudent, open governance; quality of life and place; and sustainable infrastructure. “The plan takes into account residents’ desire for better roads and better care of infrastructure and economic growth focused on jobs and on resources to enhance the community.”

    In April the federal government announced that it and the provincial government would each contribute $26.7 million to phase one to extend the city’s Maley Dr. With the balance of the $80.1 million to come from the City of Sudbury, this fully funds the project which will include new four-lane roads, the widening of lanes from four to six and restoration of existing roads to create a new east-west transportation corridor through the city. The project is expected to create almost 800 construction jobs.

    This project is in addition to the city’s annual $41.4 million roads and $37.5 million water and wastewater budgets, Wood says.

    As the regional centre for the north, Wood says Greater Sudbury is home to the region’s main hospital and cancer treatment centre. It is also the centre for many companies working in the north including those in fields such as insurance and engineering.

    Greater Sudbury boasts Laurentian University plus two community colleges – Cambrian and Collège Boréal.

    “There has been roughly $60 million invested in renovation and updating at Laurentian University recently.”

    Laurentian is also poised to open its new School of Architecture building this fall. Located in the downtown core, this $40 million, two-storey, 55,000 sq. ft. facility contains two distinct new wings plus a renovated structure.

    Wood says the city is home to a thriving arts culture, with both English and French theatre companies.

    “Imagine Theatres recently opened its new Rainbow Centre downtown,” he said. “Showing first-run movies, the theatre also offers luxury seating and food and drink service to the seats. It’s a great way to watch a movie.”

    He says in other areas there is a large new commercial development underway, the construction of a new Microtel Hotel and a number of local car dealerships are undergoing expansion and renovation. In May, a new Canadian Tire opened in a former Target location, giving the abandoned site new life, he said.

    “Duhamel & Dewar, the manufacture of Legend boats, is also undertaking a huge expansion to their offices, showroom and manufacturing facilities. Many people know these boats but few people know they are built right here in Sudbury.”

    Other business development projects include a call centre expansion for the Topper’s Pizza chain, which is owned and operated from the city but has locations across the province.

    Wood says while the mining industry is globally quiet at the moment, many local mining based companies have been able to sustain their operations by diversifying their markets.

    Creative residential projects are also ongoing in the city. Panoramic Developments is constructing several hundred new units through multiple towers on Nesbitt Dr. “They also converted the former St. Denis School into 65 condominium apartments. You would never recognize that this was once a school building.”

    This Canada Day, Sudbury will make national news. “There is a huge celebration planned at Canada House in London, England where Nobel Prize winner Art McDonald of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB) will be recognized and his research undertaken in Sudbury celebrated.”

    Located 2km below the earth in the Vale Creighton Mine, SNOLAB is focused on research into neutrino and dark matter physics.

    Surrounded by some 300 lakes, picturesque rocky hills and forest, Sudbury is thriving and growing beyond its historic focus as a mining community.

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